Date of this Version
Library Philosophy and Practice 2012
Internets are loose amalgamation of computer networks interconnected worldwide through several backbone networks (Adomi, 2008). It emerges as the educational tool by being a good source of getting the right information and solution to problems in an academic environment. Core research findings have been traced to the universities and application of these innovations has resulted in tremendous gains to country's economy according to Awoleye, Siyanbola and Oladipo (2008). No wonders, a number of universities in Nigeria are now making emphatics moves to improve on their information and communication policies.
Internet appearance in higher education was used as a tool for researchers to communicate and share project data (Jagboro, 2004). Though, it has some drawback as privacy problem, difficulty to search and to find relevant information. Yet, it is more informative, relatively fast and accessible 24 hours a day. Internet has a wide base that allows access to an enormous range of research information either as full publications, reports, summaries or abstracts (Penny, 2006). The use of Internet (if maximized) plays a major role in helping undergraduate researchers' access large number of materials from different parts of the world (Ifeoma, 2010). With its advent, lecturers and students can work together without physical interaction between each other and achieve the same objective with that of traditional way of studying in higher institution. Lecturers exchange ideas and communicate effectively since teaching, learning and research is now made easy with the Internet.
For the developing countries like Nigeria to grow and attain its economic and social status, such country must be fully ready in strengthen and empowering its academic institutions, both in science and technological capacity. Hence, the students in their respective field will need an easy, reliable and interactive means of accessing and retrieving information without wasting much time. While the use of this Internet is greatly depends on some associated factors such as purposes, students experience, locations, Internet facilities and services available, among others on academic pursue of the students in their institutions.
The Internet is acknowledged globally as a technology dominated by young people, and particularly students who are more inclined to exploit Internet resources for education, social interaction and entertainment (Salako and Tiamiyu, 2007). Shitta (2002) posits that Internet is a communication super highway that links, hooks and focuses the entire world into a global village, where people of all races can easily get it touch, see, or speak to one another and exchange information from one point of the globe to another. In library, Lancaster and Sandore (1997) in Ifeoma (2010) noted that Internet provides a medium of communication that has extended the potential of libraries' interaction beyond physical library to users, colleagues and other professional activities and relationship with library users. However, the use of these Internet resources was therefore studied by several researchers across the globe and Africa inclusive. Chandran (2000) conducted a study at S. V. University, Tirupathi, which indicated that a majority of the respondents used Web and e-mail services of Internet. The study further showed that more than 25% of the respondents used the Internet for 2 – 3 times a week, while the purposes of using the Internet were for communication and information gathering.
Similarly, Kaur (2000) surveyed the use of Internet facility at the Guru Nanak Dev. University, Amritsar. The findings revealed that all respondents used search engines to browse the required information and majority faced the problem of slow Internet connectivity. The result of the study further indicated that more than two-third of the respondents confirmed Internet were time saving, easy to use, more informative and more preferred. Staff and students in academic community enjoy Internet as a result of the facilities it offers as noted by Ikoro (2002) in Anunobi (2006) to include; e-mailing, audio broadcasting, telex/video conference, World Wide Web browsing, telephoning, news and discussion/chart group facilities, e-books storing. Internet as affirmed by Awoleye, Siyanbola and Oladapo (2008) is used for information development, enhances easy communication, improves academic performance, used as a researched tool, provides solution to assignments, gives information on entertainment & education, and a source of scholarship.
Jagboro (2003) carried out a study of Internet usage in Nigerian universities where opinion of 73 respondents was sought for. On specific uses of Internet, two-third of the respondents indicated that they used it for e-mail, to get research materials followed while course materials had 39.73%. The recorded low level of utilization of the Internet was attributed to the low level of connectivity and the high cost of cybercafé facilities. Moreso, Hanaur et al. (2004) surveyed a diverse community college to assess the use of the Internet by the students of health – related information. The surveyed showed that 83% Internet users had access to the Internet at their home and 51% of the respondents accessed Internet at the college or library.
In the same vein, Kumar and Kaur (2005) conducted a research on Internet and its use in the Engineering Colleges of Punjab, India. Questionnaire was employed to sample opinion of 474 students. It was revealed that 30.8% of the students have 2 – 4 years of experience in using the Internet followed by 1 – 2 years with 27.4%. A majority of the respondents used the Internet located at the college, use internet for education and research purposes, while half of them use it for communication purpose. More than half of the students use the Internet for consulting technical reports. It was further indicated that the major problem faced by the users was slow access speed of the Internet. In comparing Internet with conventional documents, 91.6% of the respondents noted that the Internet is easy to use, 89.1% agreed that it is informative and 88.1% felt it is time saving.
In a related study, Aseni (2005) assessed information searching habits of Internet users at Medical Sciences University of Isfahan, Iran. The findings showed that the respondents were obtaining quality information through the Internet and all the respondents were using the Internet. Recently, Oyedun (2007) conducted a study on the Internet use in the Library of Federal University of Technology, Minna, and observed that most of the respondents claimed that through the Internet services in the library, they have improved considerably in their academic performance.
Recently, Salako and Tiamiyu (2007) surveyed the use of search engines for research by postgraduate students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Copies of 327 questionnaire were analysed and it was found that most of the responding postgraduate students were aware of, and had become familiar with the Internet before the start of their postgraduate courses. On how they learnt to use search engine, more than half of the respondents were taught by friends, less than half learnt to use it by trial and error while a few were taught at a computer school. Salaam and Adegbore (2010) discovered that Internet facilities are available in all private universities studies in Ogun State, Nigeria. No restriction is placed on students Internet access and use by the university administration as opposed to that of Salaam (2003) who noted from its findings that access where restricted to staff only in Nigerian universities libraries. In view of the above literature, the study sought to examine the use of Internet by students of faculty of science in Nigeria universities.